White House warns Netanyahu against disclosing details of possible deal with Iran
The White House has warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against revealing confidential details of an emerging nuclear agreement with Iran, after a Republican senator said Netanyahu’s speech to Congress has "something we have never heard before."
Netanyahu is in Washington and is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. (local time). He is expected to use the podium to warn the White House about the “threat” of a nuclear deal with Iran.
Israeli officials have said that Netanyahu planned to reveal sensitive details of the accord taking shape in talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries – the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany, which has entered a sensitive final stage.
"The release of that information would betray the trust between our allies, and it certainly is inconsistent with the behavior of trusted allies," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said that she did not know what would be in Netanyahu’s speech but that she was concerned, after an unnamed GOP senator said Israeli officials had termed the address as having "something we have never heard before."
President Barack Obama said on Monday that Netanyahu had been proven wrong time and again about his assertions about Iran, saying he has in the past made "all sorts of claims" about the nuclear agreement and that "none of that has come true."
And Secretary of State John Kerry, who met his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, also warned Netanyahu against revealing sensitive details of the negotiations.
"I want to say clearly that doing so would make it more difficult to reach the goal that Israel and others say they share in order to get a good deal," Kerry said.
US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak to Congress. The invitation was extended hours after Obama threatened to veto any sanctions legislation against Iran during his State of the Union address in January.
The Obama administration is both angry at Netanyahu’s accepting the Republican invitation to address Congress two weeks before the Israeli election without consulting the White House and excessive Israel Lobby interference in American foreign policy.